BALTIMORE—The Orioles were no match for the New York Yankees this year, losing 16 straight and 17 of 19 overall. They’ve fared poorly against the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics.
On Sunday, they managed to drop their fourth straight to the Texas Rangers, another team with a first-year manager. The Rangers are 72-73 and beat the Orioles in six of seven this season.
The Orioles’ 10-4 defeat to Texas was their fifth straight loss. With the Los Angeles Dodgers coming in for three games beginning Tuesday, the outlook isn’t brighter.
For the 25th time this season, the Orioles allowed 10 or more runs. They have their fifth losing streak of five or more games. Their record is 46-97.
Rangers starter Mike Minor, who might receive consideration in American League Cy Young voting, allowed two runs on six hits in eight innings.
Orioles starter Asher Wojceichowski struggled from the beginning and hasn’t won in his last eight starts.
“I just thought he was battling from the first pitch,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
“He’s thrown a lot of innings this year, probably going to push him back a few days before his next start. But he’s just thrown a lot of innings and is kind of a max-effort guy, gives you everything he’s got out there. I just thought today he was really battling himself. Figured I’d give him a little bit of a breather.”
Wojciechowski allowed four runs on six hits, all of them singles, in the two innings he pitched.
“I’m starting to feel it,” Wojciechowski said. “But it’s my job to pitch these amount of innings. But I’d say for the last few weeks, definitely feeling the effects of it.
“You can see the life on my fastball, the sharpness of my pitches, but I’ve got to be able to find a way and get through it. But, yeah, just like today. It was a struggle. Six singles and four runs. Felt like the ball didn’t really fall my way today. But I’ve got to find a way, and I’ve got to finish strong.”
Wojciechowski has thrown 151 2/3 innings, his most since he threw 160 in 2013.
“I’m not injured,” Wojciechowski said. “I’ve just got to find a way to finish strong, to go out and compete and pitch deep into ballgames and give us a chance to win some games.”
Gabriel Ynoa gave up leadoff home runs to Ronald Guzman in the third and Rougned Odor in the fourth, and Dillon Tate allowed three runs in the sixth.
Nick Solak had three hits and drove in four runs for Texas, which had 20 hits and left 15 runners on base. Willie Calhoun, who homered twice on Friday night, had two more hits.
“We had a tough time on the mound the last couple of nights,” Hyde said. “Odor and Calhoun and Guzman, we had a tough time getting them out this series, and we haven’t thrown the ball well the last couple of games.”
Renato Nunez hit his 29th home run in the second, and Pedro Severino’s run-scoring double in the fifth accounted for the Orioles’ runs against Minor.
Taylor Guerrieri started the ninth and allowed four of the five batters he faced to reach base, walking three. Severino’s bases-loaded walk and Richie Martin’s force play accounted for the Orioles’ runs against Guerrieri.
Alberto stays hot: Hanser Alberto had three hits against the left-handed Minor and is hitting .420 (84-for-200) against left-handers. His 84 hits are the most since Ichiro Suzuki had 84 in 2004.
Alberto is batting .321, making him one of the leaders for the American League lead in average.
“I don’t think about the batting title,” Alberto said. “A lot of games left and this is like, day-by-day. I’ve got to keep consistent and try to finish strong.”
Alberto, who was lost on waivers to the San Francisco Giants on February 22 but reclaimed by the Orioles a week later, has played 123 games, the fourth most on the team.
“Obviously, it’s hard because I came basically from nowhere now to play every day,” Alberto said. “It feels good. Your name is going to be in the lineup and prepare the night before and [be] ready for the challenge of the day.”
Alberto wishes the hits contributed to more victories.
“You want to do a good job, but you also want to get a W,” Alberto said. “We’re here to get a W and try to win some games. When you lose, it’s not the same feeling, even if you have three, four, five hits in a game.”
General manager Mike Elias has become an Alberto fan.
“I did not expect him to compete for the batting title, but it’s been unbelievable,” Elias said on Saturday.
“I think he’s been a real bright spot for us, and he’s exactly what I’ve been talking about. You make some waiver claims. You give some guys some playing time, and you never know what’s going to happen. He’s somebody that if you look at his minor league and winter league record, he has a kind of a knack for winning the batting title everywhere he goes.
“He does it with a lot of singles without striking out a lot and just a lot of good contact. I just think he’s somebody that’s able to put the barrel on the baseball.
“I don’t know what it is with the left-handed pitching, but that’s really impressive and the energy level that he’s brought to the team has been palpable. Very excited that we have him. We’re going to keep moving him around defensively and working with him on his defense, but he’s another young guy, 25 years-old, that has done about as much as anybody with the opportunity he’s been given here in Baltimore.”
Elias was happy to get Alberto back.
“You saw he got waived a few times this offseason,” he said. “The reason that teams do that is they’re trying to get a guy through waivers, so there was a period of time where he appeared to be somebody that … might be able to pass through waivers. We tried it. It didn’t work.
“I kicked myself very hard when that happened, and as soon as he went back on waivers again, we felt that we had lucked out and grabbed him right away. It’s a risk you take when you’re trying to game the waiver system in the offseason.”
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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